Metropolitan St. Louis, MO, — the area that includes my wife’s hometown in Belleville, IL and the area where I lived for 12 years — now ranks as the most violent urban area of the nation.
CBS News reports St. Louis overtook Detroit as the most violent area in 2017 and now averages 66 homicides per 100,000 people per year — 10 times the national rate.
Baltimore, MD, part of the National Capital Region of Washington, DC, ranks number three in latest rankings. We lived in that area for 23 years after leaving the St. Louis area. Violent crime in Baltimore rose 15.4 percent between 2015 and 2016 and another 13.9 percent the following year.
Other rankings: Memphis (4th), Little Rock (5th), Milwaukee (6th), Rockford, IL (7th), Cleveland (8th), Stockton, CA (9th), and Albuquerque, NM (10th). Amy and I spent a lot of time in Albuquerque when I worked for Congressman Manual Lujan of New Mexico and considered retiring there.
Other high crime areas we had connections to: Indianapolis (12th), where I served as chief of staff for Congressman Dan Burton in 1983 and 84); New Orléans (18th), where Amy lived for a while as a child; and Chicago (20th), where we spent a lot of time while living in Illinois and again while I served as the vice president for political programs for the National Association of Realtors from 1987-92.
While Arlington, VA, where we lived for 23 years while working out of Washington, DC, no other part of The Old Dominion has a crime rate that ranks in the top 25 in America.
Floyd County’s population of 15,000 people averages less than one homicide a year. If you average that out to a ranking per 100,000 resident that rate would be 9.9 or less — far below the 66 of St. Louis. Nationally, America 10 homicides per year for each 100,000 residents.
While even 1 homicide per year is one too many, it is nowhere near what residents in many other areas of this country face.
Something to think about for those of us who live in our little part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southwestern Virginia.